Solar-mobility provider Sono Motors has signed an agreement with Bosch aftermarket to cooperate on a joint Europe-wide network of car repair shops for its Sion solar-powered vehicle.
Sono Motors unveiled the Sion during a digital event at CES 2021. The battery-electric car incorporates photovoltaic cells in a number of panels around the car. With plans to start production in the second half of 2023, and over 20,000 private registrations, the carmaker believes the car could become the world’s first solar vehicle for the masses.
With so much interest, the company needs a reliable network of service centres across Europe. Sales are likely to take place online, or via pop-up centres, which will not have workshops attached.
Owners will therefore be able to use all services offered by participating workshops in the Bosch Car Service network, including repair, servicing, maintenance and warranty work. The overall 50 qualified Bosch Car Service centres to be trained in the launch phase will be distributed throughout Germany in such a way that both major cities and rural areas will be covered. Additional qualified service centers will be added in the subsequent rollout to create a comprehensive service network
Sono Motors to provide training
The staff at Bosch partner workshops will receive comprehensive prior training from the solar-mobility company, after which they will be authorised to perform repairs on high-voltage, photovoltaic, and safety systems with the assistance of, if necessary, Sono Motors Technical Field Service.
All repair, warranty, and proactive services may only be performed by authorized partner workshops, which will be recognisable by a sign stating the garage is a ‘Sono Motors Service Partner’. The carmaker also plans to provide a workshop finder on its website.
“We are proud of our strategic partnership with Bosch Car Service, a professional partner for all things automobile, which we believe demonstrates the reputation that we are gaining as an OEM,” said Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.
“The Bosch brand represents top quality, and the workshop experts at Bosch Car Service perform their service and repair work according to modern standards. All of this makes Bosch a perfect partner for Sono Motors in order to offer our customers comprehensive, Europe-wide services.”
“We have found an innovative partner who is exploring the exciting field of solar electric mobility,” added Thomas Winter, Vice President Workshop Concepts at Robert Bosch. “The innovative technology and skills provided by Sono Motors to the Bosch Car Service network ensures that customers will receive reliable services for their vehicles. This further underlines the Electric Vehicle competence of Bosch Car Service and helps to win and retain also new customer groups.”
Solar power the next big thing?
Sono Motors launched the Sion with some impressive statistics. The car will only be available in black, but this is so the cells within the vehicle panels are able to absorb as much sunlight as possible. The carmaker believes the solar power will provide up to an extra 22 miles of range per day, making it ideal for short-distance drivers. With the 54kWh battery fully charged, the car will cover 190 miles.
It will feature the potential of bi-directional charging, allowing drivers to feed energy back into the grid, or their homes, while below the 10-inch display and infotainment system is a bay of real moss, which Sono Motors believes “adds a natural element that ensures a pleasant indoor ambience”. The inclusion of this design aesthetic caused quite a stir on launch.
As well as the public, the car is also proving a hit with businesses, as German car subscription platform FINN has also signed a letter of intent to purchase 12,600 vehicles, in addition to the 20,000 private customers who have already paid a deposit.